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Chinese semiconductor maker SMIC launches 7nm process in Q4 and expects 20% performance improvement

According to kkj.cn, the 7-nm process of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China’s most advanced and largest manufacturing facility, will start with small series production in the fourth quarter. Compared to 14 nm, SMIC’s N+1 process improves performance by 20%, reduces power consumption by 57%, decreases logical area by 63% and reduces SoC area by 55%, according to Dr. Liang Mengsong, Co-CEO of SMIC, in the report.

TSMC and Samsung will already use 5nm processes in mass production this year, but China is clearly catching up in advanced processes. The largest wafer manufacturer, SMIC, only brought a 14nm process into mass production at the end of last year, accounting for 1% of sales and $7.69 million in revenue. But this process technology can already meet at least 95% of domestic demand. The 14-nm and improved 12-nm processes are the first generation FinFET processes of SMIC. They also developed more advanced N+1, including N+2 FinFET processes, which are somewhat similar to the energy-efficient and high-power versions of the 7-nm process.


After N+1 there will also be N+2. These two processes are similarly powerful in terms of power consumption. The difference is in performance and cost. Because N+2 is obviously geared towards high performance and the costs will therefore increase. As for the EUV lithography device, which has attracted quite a lot of attention, Liang Mengsong said that under the current conditions, the n+1 and N+2 generation processes will not use the EUV process, and once this equipment is ready, the N+2 process can also use multiple photomasks. With EUV, the next process is then switched to EUV lithography on a large scale.

The most important question now is when SMIC can start mass production in 7 nm. The latest reports indicate that SMIC’s N+1 FinFET process has been introduced to customers (but no customer list has been announced). Small series production will then start in the fourth quarter of this year, i.e. earlier than previously reported. To accelerate process capacity, SMIC’s capital expenditures this year will reach USD 3.1 billion (the company’s annual turnover is only about USD 3 billion), of which USD 2 billion will be used for SMIC’s 12-inch wafer factory in Shanghai and USD 500 million in a 12-inch wafer factory in Beijing.

So it remains exciting!

Source: kkj.com via cntechpost

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Igor Wallossek

Editor-in-chief and name-giver of igor'sLAB as the content successor of Tom's Hardware Germany, whose license was returned in June 2019 in order to better meet the qualitative demands of web content and challenges of new media such as YouTube with its own channel.

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